Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Senior Alli Combs writes home about her second week in Ecuador

Hola compañer@s!

Wow-has it been a week already?? Since I last wrote you, I have spent even more time with the kids, traveled to HPSN Latacunga, served as a translator for a 19 year old girl who was meeting her biological family for the first time, organized an office (rather, tried to), and met and moved in with my host family!
I think one of the largest challenges I have met while here has been simply trying to care for the children. You can tell by the way that some of the older ones act how living in an orphanage setting has affected them. Please don't get me wrong, though! HPSN is a wonderful organization and the fact that is is Christ-based definitely helps with raising the children, but the tías can only do so much.  These incredible children need their own parents (biological or otherwise) to care for them and love them.
I cannot believe that my time here is already half over.  I feel as though there is so much more I could give to these children and so much more I could learn from them and the tías that care for them.  One always goes on these trips feeling that they can change the world, only to soon realize that the world is changing them. 
Until next week-

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Senior Alli Combs writes AU about her trip to Ecuador

Hola compañer@s!
This past week has been so busy but I cannot even believe how blessed I am to be here! I arrived late Friday evening and got about 4 hours of sleep before my next day began. Saturday was orientation with the other interns and a visit to the food market in town.  Sunday, all of us went to a local church and went to the museum at Mitad del mundo to learn some more about the culture and take the typical, yet semi-obligatory, picture where we were in both hemispheres at once.  

For the rest of the week, we spent the days and some of the evenings at the children's home. The kids are divided up into two houses: Casa Vaughn, which is for the babies, and Casa Harlow, which is where the toddlers and older kids live. So far, we have helped feed the babies, taken the kids on walks, helped with their basic enrichment, and essentially helped the tías (what the caregivers are called) wherever we are needed. 

I have also had the pleasure of helping put together a memory book for one of the children who is going home to her family in a week. This particular child has lived at Hogar Para Sus Niños (HPSN) since 2005 and I was blessed enough to spend time with her the last time I was here in 2009. 

Some of our free evenings were spent in Old Town Quito, walking around, admiring the basilicas, eating dinner on what felt like the top of the world, going to the national ballet, watching a folk dancing performance, and actually participating in one town's celebration of their founding! We dressed up in traditional garb, ate loads of food, paraded down streets that forced cars and buses to stop, threw oranges into a crowd, and danced and sang for hours and hours. 

Although I have only been here for a week and it's only my second time in Ecuador, I have this overwhelmingly calm feeling of being at home. The people are incredibly friendly, the culture is amazingly rich, and the children and people I work with at the orphanage are wonderful.  I cannot thank God, my church, HPSN, and my professors at AU enough for helping me prepare for this amazing opportunity to live out my dream in such a wonderful and rich country.  I look forward to see what all the next week brings me!! Check back next week to get another update of the whirlwind that is an international internship at HPSN!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sophomore Paige Arthur, music education student at AU, writes about the novel The House of the Spirits by Chilean author Isabel Allende. Paige read this novel in Dr. Rathbun’s FL 220 Latin American Literature in Translation class.

            The House of the Spirits is a great novel for a class that double dips (Core Humanities & Border Crossing). The amount of history and culture we see is astounding. The novel focuses on a family the entire time, which paints a cultural picture of the importance of family in Latin America. We also see a lot about women’s suffrage and identity in Latin America in the novel - this was a very real thing in Latin America, a real struggle for the women.
The most significant historical/ cultural event that The House of the Spirits focuses on is the Chilean military coup in 1973. We see how a country (represented in whole by one family) deals with the dictatorship, the torture, and the hard times of the Coup.

This novel is also a great one for its literary applications. For example, the use of intertextuality , particularly toward the end, allows the readers to connect with other literary works and themes. The literary use of “full circle” writing leaves the reader with questions answered by still wanting more. Additionally, the fact that some words in the English translation were not translated I believe was a great use of causing the reader to search for more. Overall, I believe this book covers the “double dip” more than any double dip class I have ever taken.
Paige Arthur on the left.